The quaintness that comes with a small home can be irresistible and there are a lot of benefits to choosing a small home too. Not only do they usually come with a cheaper price tag but they are also cheaper to heat and keep cool as well. Homeowners often feel stumped, however, on how to make the most out of their new homes after move in day.

Below are some tips for making the most of your small space. Whether it’s just one room or your whole house, you’ll feel like you’ve found some extra square footage.

Master of illusions – choose curtain rods that are wider than your window frame and install them close to ceilings so that the entire window frame is visible when curtains are open. Curtains should also come two inches above the floor. This set up will allow maximum amount of light to enter the room and make the room appear larger than it is.

Reflect – adding mirrors, glass and see-through furniture provides plenty of opportunity for more light to be reflected throughout the room and create the illusions that there is more space than there is.

Be bold – choose large art pieces instead of opting for a gallery wall. Choosing a large landscape piece will add an “extra window view’ while a statement piece adds extra oomph.

In plain sight – in small spaces storage can be an issue. Instead of trying to cram everything away into nooks and crannies consider putting things right out in the open. By arranging things in the open in a thoughtful way, it will look like an intentional statement instead of a cluttered mess. Use hooks and shelves to your advantage.

Make space – get creative and maximize the square footage you have. Placing counters over a washer and dryer and installing slide out drawers in cabinets are two great ways to make the most out of limited space

Color matters – warm and dark colors eat up light and can make your space feel small. Choosing a color palette consisting mostly of neutrals, cool tones, and light colors will ensure your space stays bright and therefore, appears larger.

Spread out – sconces and lamps placed throughout the room evenly spread light around as opposed to a single overhead fixture which creates dark corners.

Quality over quantity – a few large pieces of furniture that fill up the room may seem counterintuitive but it will actually make the room appear larger than it is. Prioritizing important pieces will be key since it will mean less will fit in the room but the effect will be well worth the effort.

Show some leg – furniture with exposed legs allows for visual space under furniture making the room appear less stuffed

It can be overwhelming after move in day to figure out how to prevent your cozy new home from feeling overcrowded with stuff. With these tips in hand you’ll be able to create a space that feels spacious and homey, so you can sit back and enjoy your adorable new house!

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We’re not taught much about homeownership when we’re young. Like paying bills and taxes, it’s something we’re all expected to pick up along the way. But with something as important and expensive as buying a home, there should be a guide to help first time homeowners determine if they’re ready to enter the real estate market.

Today, we’re going to attempt to provide you with that guide. We’ll offer some of the prerequisites to homeownership to help you determine if you’re ready to buy your first home.

A rite of passage

Buying a house is a significant moment in anyone’s life. It’s often a precursor to starting a career, a family, and settling in a part of the country you will likely call home for a large portion of your life.

It’s also overwhelming.

There’s much to prepare for before buying your first home. You’ll be calculating a lot of expenses, thinking about jobs and schools, and learning new things about home maintenance. Here are some things to think about before buying your first home.

Can I afford it?

The most obvious question first time buyers ask themselves is whether they can afford a home. What many don’t ask, however, is if they can afford all of the unexpected expenses that come with homeownership.

Everyone knows they’ll be making mortgage payments. But to decide if you can really afford a home you’ll have to make a detailed budget. Here are some other expenses to consider:

  • Mortgage closing costs

  • Property tax

  • Home insurance

  • Maintenance and repairs

  • Home improvement

  • All utilities

  • Moving costs

Do I plan on staying in the area?

When you buy a home, you’re not just committing yourself to the house itself, but also to the area you live in. Typically, it only makes sense to buy a home if you’re planning on staying in it for a number of years (usually five or more). Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you can truly commit yourself to your area.

  • Could my career lead me to transferring to another location?

  • Could my spouse’s career lead them to transferring?

  • If children are in the present/future, is the local school district what I’m looking for in terms of education for my child?

  • Will I want to move live to family?

  • Will I have to move soon to care for aging parents?

  • Do I like the weather and culture in the area?

Is my income stable?

Owning a home is much easier when you have a stable income or two stable incomes between you and your significant other. It help you get preapproved for a mortgage and help you rest easy knowing that you can keep up with the bills each month to maintain or build your credit.

Stability doesn’t just mean feeling comfortable that your company won’t get closed down or that you’ll be dismissed from your job. It also means that there are frequent openings in your field of work in the area you choose to live. So, when planning to buy a home, make sure you factor in the potential travel distance to cities or places you could potentially work.

Am I prepared to put in extra work?

If you currently rent an apartment, you’re most likely not responsible for maintenance outside of basic cleaning. Owning a home is a different story. You’ll be taking care of the house inside and out. That means learning basic maintenance and buying the tools for the job.

It also means mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, shoveling snow off of the roof, and other menial tasks that you’ll need to make time for.

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